Public Employees' Retirement System Plan 1 (PERS 1) is closed to new participants. The Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) provides plan information in its PERS Plan 1 Member Handbook.
PERS 1 is 401(a) defined-benefit plan. You and the University contribute money that funds your retirement income and, upon retirement, you will receive your retirement benefit based on a formula which includes your years of service credit and average final compensation. Here is how it works:
PERS 1 benefits are based on a formula—see "Calculating Your PERS 1 Retirement Benefits" below. The key to that formula is earning "service credit" for the time you are enrolled in PERS 1. There are two ways to earn service credit: month by month, or over an annual basis.
Month by month service credit is earned as follows:
At an institution of higher learning such as UW, you may receive 12 service credit months for the "school year" (i.e. September 1 – August 31) if you:
Note: If you earn compensation in fewer than nine months of the school year, you will receive service credit based on the number of hours compensated each month.
Your average final compensation is the average of your 24 consecutive highest-paid service credit months.
Enacted on July 26, 2009, for compensation earned during the 2009 – 2011 fiscal biennium, the average final compensation used to calculate a retirement benefit will not be affected by salary reductions if that reduction is due to a reduction of hours, voluntary leave without pay or temporary furloughs if the action is based on the employer’s effort to reduce expenditures.
Monthly retirement income = 2% x service credit years x average final compensation ÷ 12 months
Suppose you retire at age 60 with 29.5 years of service credit and an average final compensation of $2,500 per month. Your monthly retirement benefit will be $1,475, calculated as follows:
2% x 29.5 years x $2,500
2% x 29.5 years = .59
.59 x $2,500 = $1,475
This calculation results in the standard single-life only benefit. It will be different if you choose to continue benefits to a survivor upon your death.
Enrollment in PERS 1 is automatic upon eligibility and confirmation of past PERS 1 employment. You should keep your beneficiary designation up to date by contacting the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS).
If you leave PERS 1 eligible employment before you retire, you have a few choices regarding your PERS 1 account.
Your choices are:
If you withdraw your contributions before retirement, you lose your right to future retirement benefits. You can restore your contributions and re-establish your benefits under certain circumstances. Explore the PERS website for more information including member publications.
Disclaimer: If there are any discrepancies between this document and the provisions of the UWRP Plan Document or PERS statutes, the Plan Document or statue will prevail.
Chapter 430, Laws of 2009
In calculating average final compensation under this subsection for a member of PERS plan 1, 2, or 3, the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) shall include any compensation forgone by the member during the 2009-2011 fiscal biennium as a result of reduced work hours, voluntary leave without pay, or temporary furloughs if the reduced compensation is an integral part of the employer's expenditure reduction efforts, as certified by the employer. At retirement, certification for UW retirees will be provided by the Benefits Office directly to DRS. Neither retirees nor their departments need to provide special information to facilitate this certification. Please contact DRS directly for more information or refer to Chapter 430, Laws of 2009 as passed.